Lehigh Valley

Lehigh, Allentown 911 merger moves ahead

Positions added to communications center

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Plans to consolidate the Lehigh County and Allentown 911 centers moved forward Tuesday night as county commissioners approved a bill amending the current job classification and pay plan.

The bill —  approved unanimously on first reading — empowers county Executive Phillips Armstrong to add 18 positions to the county communications center. Those 18 positions comprise 14 telecommunications officers, two shift supervisors, one quality assurance/improvement coordinator and one training coordinator.

The consolidation is a work in progress and has been years in the making.

"It's about time we move forward," Commissioner Percy Dougherty said. "We are already behind."

He added that regionalization is the way to go and has been the way to go for a long time. 

Commissioner Geoff Brace praised the county's director of general services, Rick Molchany, for "mitigating the anxiety" that the City of Allentown has about the merger.

In 2015, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a funding bill that included a sunset for funding to the Allentown and Bethlehem 911 centers, the last two city-run centers in the commonwealth.

Other business

In other news, commissioners deferred two contracts with vendors because the pacts did not include language reflective of the recently adopted administrative notifications enhancing non-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals.

The orders were signed February 14 by Armstrong.

One of the two orders required compliance from contractors and grantees who do business with the county. That language was not reflected in the resolutions before commissioners Tuesday night and will be added before coming back to the legislative body for approval.

Commissioner Amy Zanelli said that the language will help minimize the fear and anxiety that many LGBT individuals may have for being who they are.

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